Why is Hugh Dunford Wood's Handmade Wallpaper so Special?
The designs of Dunford Wood Wallpapers are contemporary classics. They carry a soft dignity appropriate for a stimulating background to modern living. Standing at the crossroads between tradition and cutting edge, these patterns balance rhythms with colour.
Since every order is made to commission, you have the unique opportunity to choose a combination of any two colours, one for the ground, the other for the pattern on top.
The wallpapers are informed by the constant practise of observational drawing. From intricate floral designs to flowing geometrics, many of the designs are suggestive of music of various genres. Dunford Wood offers a wide range of moods through a palette of colour combinations.
The use of only two colours for each wallpaper creates a look which can transform each design from subtle and delicate, or warm and inviting, to one that's strikingly bold. It is great to juxtapose contemporary wallpaper in a traditional setting.
You will recognise Dunford Wood Wallpapers by the unusual, mottled look of the design. This irregular texture is testament to the integrity of the production - minor imperfections are an inevitable characteristic of handmade block printing, and quite distinctive from the uniform flatness of silk screen or machine printed wallpapers. You are literally handed a pattern for your walls.
It is rare these days to find hand printing in commercial wallpapers. A room gains the presence of this very human touch, offering a unique compliment to your furniture and paintings. So don't be afraid to hang pictures and mirrors on this wallpaper. It is designed to be a backdrop to your living, and you will find your eye's delight unconsciously playing over the surface of these rich wall coverings.
How are these Wallpapers Hand Made
These exclusive handmade wallpapers are meticulously cut by the artist into lino blocks, either in relief or intaglio. Each roll is printed by hand with pigments specially mixed to create a wide range of contemporary colour combinations.
The repainting of the block each time it is repeated, and the variation of the hand pressure in each repeated print, gives the finished paper its distinctive mottled texture. Registration is done by the eye in this simplest form of printing.
The hues may vary from batch to batch, as the colours are prepared on the day. So be sure to order enough for your needs. Making this wallpaper is a living art, much akin to making music.
If you would like to try your hand at designing and making your own wallpaper - head over to the wallpaper weekend workshop section →
Amarynth arose from a hotchpotch of doodlings in my sketchbook. It is quite Gothic in feel and is a delight for the eye to play on in a dining room or a drawing room when the conversation is getting deep.
This was designed for a large North London house with a black carpeted staircase. The pattern has a slow rhythm to reflect the big trees out in Regents Park. It made the stairwell sinuous and leafy due to the extended design of a half drop repeat.
This contemporary classic wallpaper is also ideal for high walls and hallways, and can look stunning in a modern setting. This design is romantic in the tradition of Rachmaninov, or the love ballads of the Beatles.
Chevron is a deceptively simple tile design, giving a heraldic feel to its elegant symmetry. Designed originally for a seventeenth century country kitchen, it creates an air of gentle order when wrapped around a busy room, in the manner of Bach or Keith Jarrett.
Tree of Life
This is taken from many life forms in my Dorset garden. It is my biggest block and a devil to handle. There is no wastage as it does not need to be aligned in repetition. It can also be used as a single band of pattern, rather as a solo musician might briefly improvise.
Gulls nest noisily on the roof of my studio. Featherbed came to mind in watching the gull feathers drift down past the studio window. Their cries underscore my days and my dreams at night, so this lively tribute is silent more in hope than expectation.
As a student I had a flat at water level on the island at Folly Bridge in Oxford. This recalls those days of watching willow leaves floating on water with a young woman who played the flute.
The Tate exhibition of the Douanier Rousseau gave rise to this playful design. This painter never left France, deriving his images of the savage jungle from visits to the Jardin des Plantes, and the zoo in Paris.
The designer has lived for some time in Brazil, in Tahiti and by the Ganges in India. The leaf forms in this design are fanciful interpretations of tropical foliage, and might encourage you to wear a sun hat in the room - even when it is wet outside. Find some Brazilian music and turn the lights down - but not too low, let the jungle glow around you.
Whistlers Wood lies at the bottom of our garden with an overgrown path showing the way down to the sea. Rather than prune back the overhanging branches, I have made order of them in this rhythmic design.
The Wood is named after Sir Laurence Whistler, the Queen’s Glass Engraver who lived in this house from the fifties until 1979. His old studio is now papered in this design.
Talleysticks was made in answer to a long enclosed corridor. The vertical stripes counteracted the passage effect, and opened up the space, bringing texture and detail to this decorating problem.
The design has been used successfully in rooms that need a simple stripe, but unregimented, on account of the irregular touch of the printer's hand. The designer may be the son of an army officer, but as an uncle once said, it was as if his father planted an onion - and up came a daffodil. This design would be dead if it were mechanically reproduced.
This was inspired by an Elizabethan stumpwork box passed down in the designer's family. This pattern is based on drawings of plants found in the designer's garden. The use of some strong colour ways can belie the formality of the design, giving an ironic twist to the restrained romance it suggests.
It was given as a wedding present to a young couple when the bride had these flowers in her trousseau.
This design suggested itself as a witty reminder after exhibiting a successful series of paintings of colourful women's footwear. The vintage clothes stalls in the Portobello Road provided the models, which should not only be relegated to a dressing room. Try this wallpaper in a bedroom or in that hall - it might inspire you to go out for a walk, or maybe you might kick off your shoes and dance.
Birdvine is my take on a traditional motif, having observed the birds feasting in my kitchen garden. We in turn can feast our eyes on them.
Field of Hares
Field of Hares was made from drawings of a family of hares observed one morning in a Yorkshire field near Sledmere.
There is a cushion to go with it. And a second cushion warns bunnies against careless gambolling in the grass.
The giant old magnolia tree began flowering in January this year and the last petal fell at the end of May. I usually paint it in flower, but this year I have celebrated it another way, by creating a large flowing linocut wallpaper. The block is so large that it has to be printed by foot, myself or my assistant climbing a ladder onto the print table and tramping about until all the block is covered. It is worth it, it is a beautiful tree.
Commissions and Bespoke Designs
If you don't see the colour combination that you want, we can match your needs, but be warned that any colour from a paint swatch will look different when set against a second colour. There is a supplement for this service.
We can make our wallpapers in a variety of specialist paints and papers, including eco paints, waterproof paint, and recycled paper. If you would like to discuss your requirements, please contact us.
Many wallpapers handmade by Dunford Wood were originated in answer to particular situations. If you have a pattern or a theme in mind, the designer will be happy to discuss translating this into a wallpaper design for you. Such designs are time consuming, and this is reflected in the cost incurred.